Mix08: ASP.NET MVC
Not surprisingly, the ASP.NET MVC session last night was absolutely packed. Scott Hanselman, as it turns out, is a pretty dynamic speaker, and frankly pretty funny. MVC is a very computer sciencey kind of concept, but it's also a very neat way to generate Web sites.
The thing that's kind of hard to deal with is that Microsoft is going entirely the opposite direction from eight years ago, where a limited number of people saw something and we had a big bang release. This is something that is truly agile and being developed completely in the open. With that transparency comes the "when it's done" ethos, which is fine, but I worry that there's some expectation gap there for customers who have release and support expectations. I mean, until it's RTM, I can tell you that we'll never be using it at Insurance.com. (I'm not indicating we would anyway, I'm just giving an example.)
In any case, there's a lot of appeal to drive the site in part by the URI. What feels strange is letting go of the postback model, which you very much have to do in this case. That forces you into a very smooth and task-driven way of designing an application. You can see this in all its glory on pretty much anything built with Ruby on Rails today. There's a "forced" style of sorts you see in those sites (see any of the 37signals sites). I'm not suggesting that's bad in any way, because I think it's actually pretty cool. As Hanselman was quick to point out though, it's not ideal for every situation. What I'm anxious to see is how people are using it in the real world, and how they roll it in a meaningful way with Web forms and even the AJAX framework.
If it were out today, I have a personal project in mind that I'd love to try it out on, but even when it's a small "me" project, I don't know that I want to commit to non-final bits.